The new HR: do the executives really know your worth?

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The human resources role has changed and developed over the years, from a mostly process-based position to one that can have a deep impact on the success and direction of a company. If you’re working with people who still talk about the personnel department it’s time to set yourself apart.

It’s a matter of showing your value to executives and department heads by being proactive about improving employee behaviour, FranklinCovey consultant Frank Teravich told the HRPA conference attendees in Toronto.

“HR is a credible, strategic performance partner, but management may have an out-dated paradigm about what HR can do,” Teravich said. “You need to show what you really do.”

The point of difference HR can offer is up-to-date knowledge of the best ways to encourage better work behaviour and improve productivity, and the team in human resources can usually see the company overall better than managers who are focused on single departments. Teravich suggested looking for areas where inter-departmental collaboration is an option or where communication between two departments is failing and educating the higher-ups on areas where there’s room for improvement.

But you don’t need to start at the top. If you’re struggling to establish credibility with an inflexible C-suite, look to department heads for partnership opportunities.

“Who is the department that will bring you in, listen and start sharing. Get their interest and focus on one department at a time,” Teravich said. “Look at the department goals and educate them on area to improve departmental performance through employee execution.”

If you can help improve productivity or reduce absenteeism you not only have facts and figures to take to your executives, but you will also have a supportive manager who can tell other department heads about the effectiveness of your work.  It’s the “show, don’t tell” approach: while you’re showing your CEO facts on the latest research, other department heads are clamouring for your help with their teams.

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